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Feather & Down - Fill Type


Feathers are the rigid plumage found on the outside of ducks and geese. They have a flat appearance and are two-dimensional in construction. As a two-dimensional structure, feathers are unable to trap air effectively and have little insulation value. The main purpose of feathers in bedding is to provide bulk and support.


Down is the light fluffy coating found beneath the feathers of ducks and geese. Most down grows on the breast and underbelly of the bird.  Down is a three-dimensional cluster with dozens of soft fine filaments that radiate from its centre. Lighter than a feather, down is the most important ingredient in a feather and down duvet as it is responsible for generating the insulation and warmth. Down creates warmth through a process called ‘lofting’. Down clusters expand or loft to fill space and trap tiny pockets of air within their filaments to create thousands of insulating pockets. The more down cluster a duvet contains, the higher it can loft and thus the warmer the duvet is.

Goose down vs Duck down

Feather and down products are generally filled with down from either geese or ducks. When selecting a feather & down product, it is important to note that there is a significant warmth difference between goose down and duck down. Geese are larger birds than ducks and generally have bigger down clusters. Their filaments are therefore able to trap more air and provide more insulation. The general rule of thumb is the bigger the down cluster, the warmer the duvet. Given all other factors are equal, a 95% goose down duvet will be warmer than a 95% duck down duvet.

Why down is such a good bedding material

Warmth without weight

Per volume and weight, down is the lightest and warmest natural insulator known to man. As down expands to fill space, it generates warmth with a minimum use of weight.

No space for draughts

Down is light and pliable so it molds to your body shape leaving no space for draughts to creep in. This allows complete movement in bed as the duvet will follow the contours of your body and adapt to changes in sleeping position.

Down can breathe

Down has the ability to absorb the moisture we release in our sleep and pass it off into the atmosphere. This ensures you are cosy but not clammy. Down’s ability to breathe means it can regulate and achieve a comfortable temperature between you and your bedding, keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer.

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Fairydown was founded in the Kaikorai Valley on the South Island of New Zealand in 1877. Fairydown has a strong connection to the New Zealand landscape, climate, and people.

Like the people of New Zealand, Fairydown has a pioneering spirit and proudly holds its head high on the global stage. Fairydown built its reputation for quality and durability by providing feather and down products that helped pioneering world explorers survive in the harshest cold climates on the planet, in places like the South Pole and mountains of Nepal.

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